So, You Want to go Camping…

Feb 7, 2022 | 1 comment

By Karon Brown

You want to go camping, but don’t know where to start?  What gear do you really need without spending a small fortune?  Here are a few key questions to ask yourself about how you want camp to point you in the right direction to get started.  Answer these questions honestly to guide your planning and purchasing decisions. 

You want to go camping but don’t know where to start

Don’t know where to start? Answer these questions…

  • How often do you expect to camp?
    • Once a month, a couple of times a year, every weekend?
  • How long will your camping adventures last?
    • Just for the weekend/couple of nights, a whole week, multiple weeks, or whole season
  • Where will you do most of your camping?
    • Local state or county parks
    • National Forests or National Parks
    • Private campground or RV resorts
    • Backcountry hike-in or boondocking
  • What seasons or weather conditions will you experience while camping?
    • Damp and cool spring
    • Heat of the summer
    • Crisp and cozy autumn
    • Frosty winter weather
  • How do you feel about personal hygiene & availability of campground amenities or facilities?
    • Backpacking toiletry kits
    • Pit toilets
    • Bathhouses with flush toilets, sinks, and showers
    • Luggable loos, portable toilets & showers
    • Full hook up self-contained facilities
  • How do you want to prepare meals?
    • Campfire
    • Charcoal grill
    • Small propane grill or griddle
    • Propane or butane camp stove
    • Electric countertop appliances – coffeemaker, electric skillet or griddle, crockpot, pressure cooker
  • How will you store perishable food?
    • Cooler with ice or ice packs
    • AC/DC 12 volt portable fridge
    • RV self-contained fridge
  • And the most important question – WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET?
You want to go camping but don’t know where to start
You want to go camping but don’t know where to start

Additional thoughts to keep in mind:

  • Start with the basics & keep it simple.  You don’t have to have the most expensive tent or jump right into an RV to start.  Borrow or buy inexpensive gear and as your love of camping grows over a couple of seasons you can always upgrade.  If you find that after a few trips camping isn’t your passion or your circumstances change, you haven’t invested a ton of money into gear you can’t use.
    • Where to look for cost conscious gear:
    • What basic gear do you need to get started?
      • Tent
      • Sleeping Bag & Pillow
      • Cooler
      • Lantern/Flashlight
      • Camping or Lawn Chair
      • Multi-Tool and/or Pocket Knife
      • Mallet or Hammer (for stakes)
      • Matches/Fire Starters
      • Camp Stove + Fuel or Campfire Grill Grate + BBQ Tools
      • Cookware (Pot & Skillet/Frying Pan) & Cooking Utensils
      • Knife & Cutting Board
      • Plates, Bowls, Drinkware, Eating Utensils
      • Dishpan, Dish Soap, Sponge
      • Trash Bags
      • First Aid Kit (Make your own)
      • Personal Items – Clothes & Toiletries
      • Plastic Storage Totes to Carry & Protect Gear
You want to go camping but don’t know where to start

Karon Brown – Contributing Editor & Illinois Chapter Guide

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1 Comment

  1. Theresa

    Great article! I camped for years in my clearance Walmart tent. I get a lot of my kitchen utensils at thrift stores. Same for layers to wear around the fire.

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